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Foam Magazine

Issue #31 / ref.

The Summer issue of Foam Magazine reflects deeply on relationships between photography and reference. Ref. presents eight portfolios which refer each in their own way to other photos, a specific visual style or language, or to stereotypical visual elements that we recognize from other photographic genres. They are all portfolios that recognize that nothing exists in splendid isolation.

Included is a major portion of the project Then & Now by the prominent American artist Ed Ruscha. After the creation of Every Building on Sunset Strip, an icon of conceptual art, Ruscha photographed every building of Hollywood Boulevard in 1973. After 31 years, he photographed the same route again, but this time in colour. The result is an unique visual historiography of modern American culture.

The road trip, too, is undeniably part of both American culture and photographic heritage. With disarming enthusiasm, Taiyo Onorato and Nico Krebs embrace this great photographic cliché and turn it into a refreshing amalgam of humor, irony, admiration, reflection and pastiche.

In his eight meticulously constructed tableaus, the Canadian artist Stan Douglas imagined scenes that could have been lived in Angola and New York sometime during the mid-1970s.

Just as carefully staged are the images by Alex Prager. The scenes she shows have an ominous familiarity, but the influences are never apparent.

Victoria Binschtok looks to a common and widespread cliché image - the bodyguard who appears as a shadow behind a prominent person; preferably invisible, but at the same time very much in attendance.

Taysir Batniji, using the objective, methodical process of Bernd and Hilla Becher, systematically photographed the Israeli watchtowers from which surveillance of the Palestinian people is carried out.

The Japanese photographer Hisaji Hara has produced a series in which he meticulously re-creates the provocative paintings of Balthus in his own unique way.

The references contained in the strongly iconoclastic work of Michael Schirner are short, general descriptions of iconic photographic images everyone can remember. It is that mental process that is the essence of this issue.

Finally, we are extremely pleased that famed filmmaker and lover of photography Wim Wenders was able to take the time for an extensive interview. We are convinced that once again an issue of Foam Magazine has been created that can confidently stand the test of time.